Saturday, June 30, 2012

quid pro quo

Well, I’m happy to report I went to the meeting mentioned in the prior posts and survived it (enjoyed it, even).  The people were nice; no woman-haters made themselves known.  I listened to an informative talk on lean sustainability in the nanotechnology industry.  Dinner was excellent.  I got to see the wine production facilities (in the basement under the restaurant), and that was interesting.  The place is in paradise (Moyers in Manchester, Ohio).  Out in the country, on the banks of the Ohio River, surrounded by hills.  What a beautiful place for a party or wedding!   

I enticed four people to sign informed consent agreements.  Attendance was disappointingly low at this meeting, but I hate crowds so it was probably better that way.  On the drive home, there were lots of deer crossing the road.  Getting themselves a drink from the river, probably, and risking their lives.  It’s been terribly hot – 100 degrees today.  And then we had a wretched wind/lightning storm this evening.  It cooled things off but we’ll have lots of work cleaning up tree limbs tomorrow.

Today was another squirrely last-day at work.  A bunch of wasteful mandatory meetings and then trying to get some people off my back.  A shrew is after me to get some testing done so she can cross something off her list.  She dropped a bomb on me and expected me to jump through hoops for her.   I told her I can’t do this thing until she gets a test environment built for me.  Quid pro quo.  I’ve been trying to get that test environment built for almost two years.  Now it bites them. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

whine & golf

I could launch into a rant about how piss-poor things are going with my survey. I’m not going to do that. It’s become very obvious that bribery will be necessary…in the form of gift cards. It was stupidly na├»ve to think more than a few people would be willing to do anything for a stranger without some kind of compensation. I will be going to the dreaded dinner meeting later this week, which I imagine will be mostly managerial/professional types. Maybe they can shed light on what I need to do to attract people….which reminds me I should take a nondisclosure agreement (or two) with me in case anyone gets drunk enough to sign. The meeting is at a restaurant with a winery.  Afterwards, we get a tour of the production facilities which should be nice. People will be drinking wine. Not me (or perhaps just a few sips to be polite). Wine is a sure-fire migraine trigger for me. Not only that, the winery is a couple hours drive from home - I don’t want to get stopped and be smelling like I’ve been drinking. Yeah, keep telling myself that...

Drinking habit?

I played 36 holes of golf over the weekend. Golf can really be a fun game when I’m playing well (in comparison to when I’m not playing well). Someone and I went out yesterday evening with Someone’s Dad. Someone and his Dad are very much alike even though Someone insists he’s nothing like his dad or brother. They could all be clones of each other  (it would piss him off to read that). Anyway, I had a good round Saturday and a great round Sunday – it was fun fun fun to hit some good shots.

I started playing golf when I went to work for the pipeline group (about 26 years ago). They planned just about every group meeting around a golf outing with a best-ball tournament so that even non-golfers had no excuse not to play. I’m fairly athletic for a woman and like being outside, so the game is perfect for me. After playing the second time, I bought some used clubs and started going to the driving range to work on my swing. Once upon a time (around the time I met Someone), I was pretty much a golf addict. When Sarah visited her Dad, I was on the golf course – rain or shine, even when it was cold and windy, if the course was open I was out there playing every chance I got.

When I met Someone, he wasn’t a golfer. I told him we could go out on dates occasionally, but if he didn’t play golf he wouldn’t see me very often. I meant it sincerely. He had no clubs but he said he’d played a few times with friends. He promptly took up golf and we played a lot together until I got pregnant with twins and swinging a golf club became too awkward. Then I quit playing, only getting out maybe once or twice a year and going to the driving range maybe a few times a year. As soon as the twins got old enough that they didn’t want me around so much, I started back to school (leaving no time for anything fun). Someone always played regularly though over these years, and he’s improved a lot (but still has an ugly swing that is surprisingly effective some of the time).

temporary golf terminators

Saturday, June 23, 2012

symbolically\acronymically-functioning people

I stepped outside tonight to bring in the mail and newspaper.  It’s a beautiful summer night here in the beautiful Ohio River valley, warm, and very clear sky.  The lightening bugs make our trees sparkle and the stars are brilliant.  I picked out the Big Dipper, and one of my favorites, Cassiopeia.   

I do really like that constellation (Queen Cassiopeia).  Why?  She is easy to spot.  She’s always somewhere around the North Star.  Her shape reminds me of Sigma and summation.  We humans sure are symbolically\acronymically-functioning creatures!  Maybe our abbreviated shorthands make us more productive and lazy at the same time. 
Queen Cassiopeia was a beautiful woman who was chained into the sky for boasting that she was more beautiful than the sea nymphs (thanks to Poseidon who sided with his nymphs).  Mythology is a pretty awesome phenomenon.  Poseidon got around – quite the stud. 

So, you can tell I like stars.  I mentioned my astronomy teacher in an earlier post.... *sigh* (I can’t remember what I named the post, and I didn’t tag it.  Dang!) 
I finally remembered his name though; his face I’ll never forget....and all that beautiful long curly brown hair.  A beard and mustache just take me away!  Somewhere.   Every time (well, almost every). 
I’ve known  men who had  their faces hidden with hair for years who I thought were handsome as hell, then I see them clean-shaven all of a sudden.  It’s like somebody popped the balloon!  What’s this?   There’s nothing good-looking about this guy!  What did I see in him?  But that’s not the whole truth of it, because then in a short time, I forget about it.  The shock is gone, or it just really doesn’t matter anymore whether he has that beautiful face or not.
Someone refuses to grow a beard or mustache.  It’s not his thing and that’s OK.  He said he did once and everyone told him it was dreadful.  I'll take their word for it.  Some things are better left to the imagination anyway.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

under the radar

Things are:

A. Great

B. Bad

C. What they are

Correct answer? C, of course. It doesn’t matter if things are great or bad or somewhere in between. They are what they are and all I can do is live with “things” just like they are. Well…not true. There are always other options. It seems as though I’ve let go of the postmodern outlook on life (that I define my own reality). *sigh* At the end of the day, I really am a hopeless waste of space most of the time.

So interest is picking up – some people in the business world are getting interested in my study. A person of interest went out of his way to invite me to a dinner meeting next week. He told me all the movers and shakers will be there and I should go rub elbows with them. JEEZ!! Seriously? I know it’s a huge opportunity. 1% of me says “Hooray! This is a massive lucky break! I can go impress people, stir up future opportunities, finish up this data collection in a few short weeks, and move on with my life!!” The other 99% says, “OH HELL! A dinner meeting two hours away with people (no doubt probably all women-hating men) I don’t know, in an expensive restaurant I really can’t afford, who will probably all think I’m a dykey bitch who thinks she knows more than they do .“ The guy who invited me can’t attend (and anyway, I’ve never met him either). I should be thrilled that anyone thinks enough of me that I got invited, but it’s hard to be anything but worried about how awkward it will be. I will hate myself forever if I don’t go….so I will go. Just suck it up, man up, and make myself go.

self portrait...if you can find me

I’m such a F’ing mouse about everything. I like to blend in and be sort of invisible to the world…I’m pretty good at doing just that. Under the radar – that’s me. I should have been born a tree in a dense forest (or not at all).

But no, I’m not a helpless, weakling wallflower all the time. Yesterday, a road crew paved the road in front of our office. Apparently they had flagmen at both ends of the work section but were not controlling traffic that was leaving the parking lot exits. I left the office a bit late so most cars were already gone. I got to the road and saw orange cones blocking one lane, but no cars coming either way, no flag people or equipment in sight. I turned right, got to the top of the hill, and met a redneck in a pickup truck coming head-on in my lane. There was enough space on the berm to get over, so I moved over so we could pass. He had his window down and when we got close, he screamed “Fucking bitch!” to me. When he got closer, I looked him in the eyes and flipped him off as he went by. Back atcha, Buddy. I’ve never done that before (except for when I was teasing somebody) but I thoroughly enjoyed giving him that classy display of appreciation for his classy comment.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

jealousy drama

After much procrastination and general mind-grumbling, the survey invitations are “out there”.  I wish I could say that I’ve been busy sending out informed consent agreements to all the scores of people who are clamoring to take my survey.  Not one person has even inquired.  Jeez!!  I’d better be making a Plan B because things aren’t looking good. 

As mother of two 16 year olds, our house is always full of teenagers. I hear lots of stories about boyfriend/girlfriend drama. Jealousy, possessiveness, going out, breaking up, who’s texting who, who’s doing who, flirting, etc., etc., etc. I always tell my girls that if a boy causes this much heartache at this stage of the game, they are better off without him. Plenty of fish in the sea, and all that. 
I’ve been married to Someone for more than 18 years.  If he ran off with another woman, then fine.  They deserve each other.  I love him but if something happens to him, I’m never doing the marriage thing again.  It’s funny that one night, I dreamed that Someone and I were out on a city street and he wanted to go into a Hallmark store and buy a card.  We went in and he asked me to help him pick out a birthday card.  We start looking at cards together and I asked him who the card was for.  Very casually, he said it was for his girlfriend.  In my dream, I was a bit taken aback but I didn’t even ask who she was.  I just accepted that he had a girlfriend and started helping him look for a card.  Then he handed me one and asked me if I thought it would be good to give her.  It looked like a giant valentine.  I opened it and knew it was a sentimental, all lovey, sickening sort of greeting card.  I woke up from the dream, sat up in bed, looked over at Someone who was sound asleep, and thought “You cheating son of a bitch!”  My instinct was to punch him, but then I realized it had all been a dream.  Maybe I do have a jealous streak in me.     

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

blame the idiot

Things are great!  But not really...not so much.  Things should be great but something is wrong, and now I’m in a funk about everything.  The survey is finally ready to go, after much procrastinating and nit-picking on minor things for more than a week.  So why am I dragging my feet?  Why am I writing a stupid blog post instead of sending out invitations?  After three years of clawing and scratching to get here, finally to the point where all I have to do is execute the plan, it’s ME who’s holding things up.  There’s only one explanation that makes sense -  I’m a total idiot. 

Or maybe, I’ve been possessed by an evil demonic spirit who wants me to be a failure.  If only I could blame somebody else, the devil, or anyone else!  I could blame Satan if my head would spin a 360 or maybe if I could run down the steps on all fours with my head on backwards....but no, the fault for this ridiculous failure to launch is all mine.  I am what I am.    

Sunday, June 10, 2012

weekend adventure

I must be losing my mind lately (like everything else I seem to lose, my mind shouldn’t be any different).  I stayed up too late and then had to get up too early this morning.  So around 10 AM, I crashed on the couch in the living room, and was dead to the world....until, our bird clock sparrow chattered at 1:00 and woke me up.  I sat up from a dead sleep thinking we had a live bird in the corner.  From the sleepy fog, I sat listening for it again, heard nothing, and observed Jack asleep on the chair in his usual place.  It dawned on me that if we really had a bird in the house, Jack would be all over it.  I then glanced at the clock and saw 1:00 and realized the clock sparrow woke me up.  When awake, the bird calls sound like mice in the wall, but in my sleep, I knew it was a sparrow. 

I went on a fun solo adventure yesterday – 3.5 hours into the mountains of Eastern Kentucky to hear my sweet daughter sing at a festival.  It was a trip to the middle of nowhere, just very small towns, lots of coal mines, and raped mountains.  Strip mining, highwall mining, and mountain top removal is devastating to the landscape in that part of the state.  In older places where little reclamation has been done, kudzu takes over and covers everything.   Anyway, it was a beautiful day, and for a while I watched people making brooms, baskets, and wooden chairs with woven maple seats.  Pretty neat to watch while listening to some fine mountain music on two stages and little groups of people just jamming for the fun of it.  I met up with Sarah an hour or so before she performed, and we visited a bit before I left. 

Perhaps it’s not proper to talk about this in a blog, but I will.  I met a young person who is working on a PhD.  The person is married with a little baby and complained about her work (that is funded externally) and that she’s had no personal time with all the courses, but now those are over.  She stated that she just wanted to get this research and dissertation done, get a real teaching job, and enjoy life again.  I know the feeling all too well, but I refrained from talking about my research and my journey.  I had investigated getting a doctorate from the university she is working with.  I couldn’t keep my job and do doctoral work there.  It was less expensive than I’ve had to pay.  Even though we have some stuff in common, she and I are a world apart.  I also thought, how sad for her future students – their professor will have no real world experience.  How fortunate for me that all my professors were experts in their fields and related everything (except for philosophy) to their real world experiences.  Even with philosophy, my professor applied it to the business world, mostly to ethics.

So tonight, I’m finishing (hopefully) testing my survey.  Tomorrow, the host will finalize and clean it up.  I then send out invitations.  HOORAY!!!  Progress is a good thing.  As for my job this altogether different attitude and story, and something I refuse to think about until tomorrow. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday brain drain

I’ve been screwing around all week, trying to optimize my survey for the ridiculous process parameters defined by the IRB. Being indecisive is a huge problem for me when it comes to things like this. I have to be able to see it all in my head, end to end, before I can be confident with a decision. I agonized for days, and then it just came to me – this is it!! I called the host today and gave them my decision. I think we’ll be ready to start collecting data on Monday. Let the games begin! I must get 67 people, but ideally I’ll find a 116 willing people who meet qualifications.

It’s Friday, usually my day of squirrel brain and grumbling. Today hasn’t been like that…it’s been a day of lining up ducks….or trying to. I have something big to do next week that requires coordination of various people – it’s not coming together….I hate when that happens. People are out of town, we have some administrative problems to deal with, and the timing is just too tight to push back another week. GRRRR. I have to find a way to make it happen outside normal procedures – no easy task for a company so rigid with its rules. Not impossible…but very cumbersome.

Someone asked me to come home on time tonight to play golf with him. It’s a perfect day for the golf course. Sunny and 83 degrees today – perfect for anything fun outside. Tomorrow…..I have a trip planned. :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Summer doldrums have set in. I’ve lost all motivation to do anything. Inspiration to write anything has abandoned me… except for this unenthusiastic post. If breathing was voluntary, I probably wouldn’t bother with that either. I suppose God designed humans with an involuntary respiration system because He had an inkling that some of his creations (like me) might get lazy and decide breathing was just too much to ask.

I was going to create a new flower bed this spring. Nothing has happened so far. I’ve stood in the back yard twice with shovel in hand and just can’t bring myself to start digging. It’s going to be a lot of work from start to finish, and I sure as heck don’t want to start and not finish. Meanwhile, Sarah found a place that sells delightful concrete gargoyles, perfect for a flower bed. 

I bought a flat of pink and white dianthus and some snapdragons to plant in my new flower bed.  It’s a blatant case of putting the cart before the horse because now they are just withering on the driveway while they wait to be planted. I sometimes wish Gracie would go ahead and just eat them; I know she wants to. 

Maybe I should invest in a hammock and give in to my inner sloth all summer.

Monday, June 4, 2012

future tense

It’s been a pretty busy week, which doesn’t leave much time for blogging.  I took a day of vacation last week to accompany my girls on a tour of the University of Louisville, among other things we did together in Louisville.  As rising juniors, it’s time the girls start giving serious consideration to which college they want to attend.  Erin liked what she saw at U of L; it was her idea to see it and she thinks she wants to go there.  U of L is a little more than 3 hours from home via Interstate, not bad but I don’t like the thought of those trips she will make back and forth from home in all that traffic....of course, I’m assuming she will want to come home from time to time.  She might like it so much she never wants to come home.  I suppose that would be a wonderful thing to happen, but it makes me a bit sad to think it.  I want all my kids to be happy, and I will go see them if I miss them before they come and see me. 

Next up, University of Kentucky in Lexington.  Emily wants to see it.  We have driven through parts of the sprawling campus many times together, but she wants to get a real tour like we got last week at U of L.  Fair enough.  I’ll have to figure out a date that works and call to schedule it. 

Dang it!  It’s nearly Monday.  I do hate Mondays and tomorrow is extra bad – my boss is coming in.  I work in a remote office about 5 hours away from corporate headquarters.  I’m on a team that has members in Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan.  Boss is taking us out to lunch with a peer manager and his Kentucky members, and my boss’s boss who is also from headquarters.  My boss’s boss; I don’t know him well but he is definitely old-school.  I hate lunch.

What’s worse, it’s mid-year review time.  My boss is new; he’s worked pipeline and terminals, but not refining until just last November.  Anyway, he’s still operating from the upslope of the learning curve.  He hasn’t set section mid-year goals so my annual goals are still floating free and whipping around where-ever the wind carries them.  I kind of like that because it makes it easier to juggle priorities.  It’ hard to take long term goals seriously when environments are changing so quickly; proposals become obsolete before they are approved.  Working there is like trying to run underwater. 

Ugh...I better get off this computer, and get some sleep...or I’ll be a total zombie (which I usually am on Monday).